How to Select the Right Job Candidate for Your Company? (7 Steps)



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1. Application blank

2. Initial interviews of the candidates

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3. Employment tests

4. Interviews

5. Checking of references

6. Physical or medical examination

7. Final interview and induction

1. Application Bank:

In a sense the application blank is a highly structured questionnaire in which the questions are standardised and determined in advance.

An application blank, is a traditional, widely accepted device for getting information from a prospective applicant.

The application blank provides preliminary information as well as aids in the interview by indicating areas of interest and discussion. In an application blank, information is generally called under the following items:

(a) Biographic data:

This is concerned with such variables as age, gender, nationality, height, weight, marital status and number of dependents.

There is very little empirical evidence to suggest that this information can be helpful in predicting on-the-job behaviours. However, this information can be used for future reference when needed.

(b) Education and past experience:

Educational qualification, knowledge gained from technical institutions etc. is needed by the employer. Today, employers look at the grade point and percentage of marks as prerequisites for a job.

The reason is to eliminate those candidates who do not reach the required grade. However, the magnitude of coefficients between the grade points acquired and on the job performance is so low that too much confidence cannot be placed in them.

The employer often asks the nature of duties and responsibilities involved in previous experience.

Although it is often said that the best predictor of future work is past performance, little has been done to utilise it systematically for the selection process.

(c) Personal items:

Extra-curricular activities, sports, hobbies, membership of association are often required to find out a candidate’s suitability for a post.

(d) References:

References are letters of recommendation written by teachers and/or previous employers. Asking for references is a widespread practice but there is substantial doubt as to its validity. Reference checking requires the same use of skills as required by the interviewer.

Some organisations have found that by assuring the referee of absolute confidentiality, reliable and valid references have been obtained.

Filling of the ‘application bank’ by the candidate is the first step in the process of selection. In this form, the applicant gives relevant personal data such as his qualification, specialisation, experience etc.

The application blanks, are carefully scrutinised by the company, with reference to the specifications prescribed for the jobs to decide the applicants who are to be called for interview.

The information sought in the application blank should be relevant to the objective of selection. The data submitted in an application form should help predict the candidate’s chances for making a success of his job.

To ensure that the information given by the applicant is true, the application blank usually carries a threat of discharge at any time after employment if the information furnished in it proves to be false.

2. Initial interview:

Those who are selected for interview on the basis of particulars furnished in the appli­cation blank are called for initial interview by the organisation.

This is meant to evaluate the appearance of the candidate and to establish a friendly relationship between the candidate and the company and for obtaining additional information and clarification on the information already on the application blank.

An interview is a face-to-face, obser­vational and personal appraisal method of evaluating the applicant.

Its purpose is not to make a detailed probe of qualifications but to refuse application forms to those who cannot be employed because of such reasons as average, disqualifying physical handi­caps and lack of required experience or training.

Preliminary interview becomes a neces­sity when a large number of candidates apply for the job.

3. Employment tests:

For further assessment of a candidate’s knowledge and abilities, some tests are used in the selection procedure. Psychologists have developed certain tests by which a candidate’s ability, intelligence, etc., can be estimated.

Testing is an important stage of the selection process. If tests are properly conducted, they can reduce the selection cost by reducing the large number of applicants to manageable levels.

Tests are tools in evaluating the capabilities of an applicant for a position. Different tests are administered to determine the suitability of candidates for different positions.

Which test is to be administered depends upon the type of the job, the skills required, the duties attached to the job etc. The different types of tests are:

(a) Aptitude Test:

Aptitude or potential ability tests are widely used to measure the talent and ability of a candidate to learn a new job or skill.

Aptitude tests measure ability and skills. They enable us to find out whether a candidate, if selected, would be suitable for a job.

Specific aptitude tests have been designed for jobs that required clerical, mechanical and manual abilities and skills.

Aptitude tests for medicine, law, painting, and other activities are also available. The disadvantage of aptitude tests is that they do not measure motivation.

On the job motivation is often found to be more important than aptitude for the job. That is why the aptitude test is supplemented by interests test and personality tests.

(b) Interest Test:

Interest test is used to find out the type of work in which the candidate has an interest. An interest test only indicates the interest of a candidate for a particular job. It does not reveal his ability to do it.

These tests aim at finding out the types of work in which a candidate is interested. They are inventories of the likes and dislikes of the people in some occupations. Therefore they are useful in vocational guidance.

Interest tests have been designed to discover a person’s area of interest and to identify the kind of work that will satisfy him. Examples of interest tests are “Kuder Preference Record” and “Strong Vocational Interest blanks.”

(c) Intelligence Test:

This test is used to find out the candidate’s intelligence. By using this test, the candidate’s mental alertness, reasoning ability, power of understanding etc., are judged. Intelligence tests are generally aptitude tests, although there is some disagreement on this.

Mental or intelligence tests measure the overall intellectual activity of a person and enable the employer to know whether he has the mental capacity to deal with new problems.

The scores on intelligence tests are usually expressed as Intelligence Quotient (IQ), which are calculated as follows:

Intelligence tests are useful for selection purposes and determine the future of an employee. Word fluency, memory, inductive reasoning and speed of perception are tested. There are various forms of intelligence tests for various age groups.

Ones IQ level will increase or decrease depending upon which age-level test one can pass. The administration of these IQ tests calls for much preparation on the part of an organisation, and they are expensive and cumbersome as well.

However, they are conducted on the assumption that intelligence testing gets bright and alert employees who can learn fast and can be trained fast.

(d) Performance or Achievement Test:

This test is used to measure the candidate’s level of knowledge and skill in the particular trade or occupation in which he will be appointed in case he is finally selected.

Achievement tests measure the skill or knowledge which is acquired as a result of previous experience or training secured by a candidate.

They determine the admission feasibility of a candidate and what he is capable of doing. Achievement tests measure a person’s potential in a given area.

One example is the trade test which involves the performance of a sample operation requiring specialised skill, and believed to be satisfactorily answered by those who have some knowledge of the occupation and trade. For e.g., a candidate for a driver’s post may be asked to drive the vehicle.

Achievement tests are of two kinds:

(i) Tests for Measuring Job Knowledge:

These tests are administered to determine proficiency. Such tests are useful for stenographers, sales girls etc.

(ii) Work Sample Tests:

This test is administered on the actual job. A typing test for a typist tests the skill and accuracy of the candidate.

(e) Personality Test:

Personality test is used to measure those characteristics of a candidate which constitute his personality.

Personality tests are very important in the selection process, particularly in the case of appointment to the posts of supervisors and higher executives.

Personality tests have a wider use in industry because they provide a well-rounded picture of an applicant’s personality and because managers have to realise the importance of emotional characteristics.

They assess a candidate’s motivation, interests, his ability to adjust himself to the stresses of everyday life and his capacity for inter-personal relations and self-image. Personality tests are of three types:

(i) Objective Tests are tests which measure self-sufficiency and self-confidence.

(ii) Personality Tests are tests which assess a candidate’s interpretation for certain standard stimulus situations. They test a candidate’s values, motives and personality.

(iii) Situation Tests: This test measures a candidate’s reaction when he is placed in a peculiar situation.

In recent years, tests have become an integral part of the selection process in different types of organisations in the country.

It is more so in a majority of government undertakings. Testing is an important stage of the selection process.

If tests are properly conducted, they can reduce the selection cost by reducing the large groups of applicants to manageable levels.

4. Interviews:

After putting the candidates to various types of tests, all those clearing the tests are finally called for interview. The interview is perhaps the most intricate and difficult part of selection procedure. Interviews are conducted to test the capabilities of the candidate to occupy a particular post.

They determine his knowledge, experience, skill, intelligence, general perception, mental and psychological reflexes, capacity to perceive things quickly and capabilities to take quick and immediate decisions.

Interview is probably the most widely used selection tool. It is a selection technique which enables the employer to view the total individual and directly appraise him and his behaviours.

According to Scott, “An interview is a purposeful exchange of ideas, the answering of questions and communication between two or more persons.”

According to Biswanth Ghosh, “The interview is a face-to-face, oral, observational and personal appraisal method of evaluating the applicant.

It can also be described as a conversation with a purpose and is used almost universally in the staffing process”.

The interview consists of interaction between interviewer and applicant. If handled properly, it can be a powerful technique in achieving accurate information and getting access to material otherwise unavailable.

If the interview is not handled carefully, it can be a source of bias, restricting or distorting the flow of communication.

An interview is thus an attempt to secure maximum amount of information from the candidate concerning his suitability for the job under consideration. The different types of interviews for selection are given below:

(a) Preliminary interview

(b) Extensive interview

(c) Stress interview

(d) Discussion interview

(e) Structural interview

(f) Non structural interview

(g) Group interview

(h) Final interview

(a) Preliminary Interview:

These interviews are preliminary screening of applicants to decide whether a more detailed interview will be worthwhile.

The only argument for this method is that it serves the company’s time and money. In point (2) above, a detailed explanation is given about preliminary or initial interview.

(b) Extensive Interview:

Extensive interviews or depth interviews cover the complete life history of the applicant. It is semi-structured in nature and utilises questions in key areas which have been studied in advance by the interviewer.

The idea of such an interview is to get a true picture of the candidate by intensively examining his background and thinking so that a correct evaluation and decision may be made. It is an excellent method for executive selection. It is however time consuming.

(c) Stress Interview:

Stress interviews are deliberate attempts to create pressure to observe how an applicant performs under stress. The stress interview may have some value for jobs where emotional balance is a key factor.

This procedure was originally developed in the U.S military service for the selection of spies. It involved putting the candidate under severe emotional strain in order to test his response.

The stress inducing interview must be done carefully by trained and skilled interviewers. Emotionally disturbed persons should not be subjected to stress.

It should not be done at the beginning of the interview because this can make it impossible to compare a candidate’s customary behaviour with his behaviour under stress.

To induce the stress, the interviewer responds to the applicant’s answers with anger, silence, criticism or a flurry of incisive follow-up questions.

Events such as noise, interruptions or change of schedules are introduced. The interviewer can act hostile and rouse objections.

(d) Discussion Interview:

In this type of interview, the candidates enter into group discussions, knowing that it is a test, but do not know which qualities are being measured or tested.

The assumption underlying this type of interview is that the behaviour displayed while working on the solution of the problem is related to potential success in the job.

A few observers watch the activities of the candidates (interviewees). The emphasis is on the analysis of the interviewer’s impressions from discussions.

(e) Structural Interview:

Patterned or structural interview is based on the assumption that, to be most effective, every detail should be sought.

Questions must be asked in a particular order, with very little deviation. Such interviews are also called standardised interviews because they are pre-planned to a high degree of accuracy.

In this type of interview, a series of questions which can throw light on the candidate’s background are standardised in advance and validated against the record of employees who have succeeded or failed on the job.

In the interview process these standard questions are asked as they are written, the order may be varied but not the phrasing of the questions. The basis for this approach is that a candidate’s future behaviour can be judged by his past performance.

The structured interview has got nothing to do with job skills. It is designed to appraise only personality motivation and skills. The structured interview was designed by Mc Murry to measure the personality traits that are wanted among all employees.

These traits are (i) stability, (ii) industry, (iii) ability to get along with others, (iv) self-reliance, (v) willingness to accept responsibility, (vi) freedom from emotional immaturity and (vii) motivation.

(f) Non-structural Interview:

In the non-structured interview, the applicant is asked some very general questions, and he may reply to these in any way he likes.

In this type of interview, the candidate is encouraged to express himself freely. The objective is to find out traits, strengths, weaknesses etc.

The purpose of such interviews is to determine what kind of person the candidate really is. The basic procedure followed in this type of interview is the minimum use of direct questions.

The interviewer should listen carefully without interrupting and allowing pauses in the conversation. The basic philosophy of such interviews is that a candidate is more likely to reveal his actual self than when he answers set questions.

(g) Group Interview:

In this type of interview, several job applicants are placed in a leader-less discussion and interviewers sit in the background to observe and evaluate the performance of the candidates. A topic for discussion is assigned and at the beginning there is no leader.

The interviewer observes how one candidate assumes leadership and how it is accepted by other members of the group. In this interview 5 or 6 candidates are placed together in a situation in which they must interact.

The situation may be structured or unstructured. The selector remains silent throughout the discussion and makes notes about the candidate’s interaction. The candidate who articulates better and who has a better personality is likely to be selected.

(h) Final Interview:

After the applicant is selected, it is advisable to sell the job to the applicant. He should be given an idea as to his future potential within the organisation.

He is formally appointed by issuing an appointment letter or by concluding with him a service agreement. The appointment letter contains the terms and conditions of employment, pay scale and other benefits associated with the job.

Each of the above mentioned types of interview is conducted with a distinct purpose. All interviews are conducted to measure the capabilities of the candidates to occupy positions of importance.

Which interview is to be conducted depends upon the type of the job, the skills required, duties attached, the type of applicants etc.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer must elicit the necessary information from the candidate if possible through an evaluation form.

Quite often, interview rating forms are used which require evaluation of various factors relevant to the job which have been observed during the interview besides getting an overall evaluation.

5. Checking References:

The references provided by the applicant have to be checked. This is to find out the past records of the candidate.

Reference checking requires the same use of skills as required by an interviewer and diplomacy. The main difficulty is ascertaining the accuracy of information given. Besides inaccurate facts, the referees’ inability to assess and describe the applicant and his limited knowledge about the candidate are the difficulties in checking references.

In spite of these difficulties, it is necessary to verify the information secured. In many organisation, reference checking is taken as a matter of routine and treated casually or omitted entirely.

6. Physical or Medical Examination:

The next step is getting the candidates checked medically if there is a need. Quite often the candidates are told to get medically examined before reporting for duty.

In government and other quasi government organisations, getting medically examined is a must before reporting for duty or at the time of reporting for duty.

Medical examination is a part of the selection process for all suitable candidates in many organisations.

The objectives of this examination are:

(a) To check the physical fitness.

(b) To protect the company against unwarranted claims for compensation.

(c) To prevent communicable diseases.

(d) To prevent injury or damage to the health of employees.

(e) To discover existing liabilities at the time of hiring so that the company’s subsequent liabilities can be assessed in case of workmen’s claim for compensation for an injury.

(f) To place persons on those jobs which they can handle without damage to their health.

The main purpose of the medical examination is to see whether the candidate is medically fit to occupy a particular post and has the capabilities to withstand the physical and psychological stresses and strains required of the job.

When conducted by in service medical personnel, they are more valuable to the applicant than when done by a doctor knowing very little about the working conditions under which the job is done.

For instance in defense service, the medical examination is done by the doctors attached to each defense wing.

Such an examination can predict, the possible health problems in future involving serious surgical conditions and prolonged treatment which would involve huge medical expenditure to the organisation.

Normally candidates are not rejected in medical examination unless they are suffering from contagious or incurable diseases or complex emotional problems.

Though medical examinations are generally conducted, they often fail to detect complicated diseases because they are conducted in a cursory way.

Further, the validity and reliability of medical examination as a selection tool is minimum because of two reasons. They are:

1. With growing automation, less physical strength will be required for most jobs.

2. A sound physical condition is no guarantee against accidents.

To conclude, medical examination reveals whether or not a candidate possesses the required stamina, strength and tolerance of hard working conditions.

Major deficiencies may serve as a basis for rejections. The basic purpose of a physical examination is to place selected candidates on jobs which they can handle without injury to their health.

7. Final Interview and Induction:

After the candidate is finally selected, the management will have to sell the job to him. He should be told as to what his duties are, what is required of him and what his future prospects in the organisation are.

Normally this information is given to the candidate at the time of final selection interview. This is the way how the candidate is inducted into the job.

He is formally appointed by issuing an appointment letter or by concluding with him a service agreement. The appointment letter contains the terms and conditions of employment, pay scale and other benefits associated with the job.

The interviewer can describe the company and its policies, the duties and responsibilities of the applicant as well as the opportunities available to him for future promotion. The interviewer should in fact highlight the favourable aspects of the job.

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